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For All Nails #184: How You Like Them Oranges?

by Noel Maurer

From the Statist
28 May 1976

Orange in the Face

Long accused of controlling New York City's main fish market, the Adair and Wright families are now allegedly trying to control its stockmarket. On May 25th the New York district attorney indicted 19 people on charges of securities fraud, extortion, wire fraud and racketeering. Alongside what uncharitable souls might call the usual suspects ("Michael Hennessey, aka Butch aka Crazy Eyes aka The Iceman"), the indicted include Harvey Gordon, the chairman of Hart-Buford Tinning, a food-processing company with factories in the New Jersey cities of Camden and Newark, and six stockbrokers from an obscure Broad Street firm, Robbins Smythe Rubick.

The indictment alleges that the brokers, prompted by the persuasive habits of people like Butch (such an innocent name when you think about it), helped Hart-Buford managers to manipulate the price of the firm's shares. The brokers and alleged mobsters received shares in the soaring firm in return. In March and April Robbins Smythe brokers were responsible for 80 percent of all retail customer purchases of Hart-Buford shares. On May 17th the Ministry of Finance suspended trading in Hart-Buford shares, after eyebrows were raised about the accuracy of its information. The "victims" were hapless out-of-town retail investors.

The defendants have yet to put across their side of the story, although the lawyer for Mack "Curly" Sorrentino said that he doubted whether his client "even knew how to get to Broad Street". The potential penalties are steep. The 20 counts that Butch faces have a combined maximum penalty of 265 years. Mr Gordon's 15 counts add up to a maximum of 120 years. Northern Confederation officials say that, even though they regard Hart-Buford as an isolated case, they want to send a clear message that Broad Street is not an easy touch.

One wonders just how isolated the case is, though, considering that the confidence game seems to have been started last year. After all, it was only in April that the CBI issued its report on the ignominious collapse of Erie Real Property, the firm implicated in the Hamburg Line property development fraud. It should be noted that ERP's "board" consisted of one Josiah Hennessey (brother to Butch) and one James George Wright. It appears that even as the government steps on one bug, three more scurry off.

(Forward to FAN #185: Ramadan.)

(Forward to 4 June 1976: Graduation Day.)

(Forward to the Statist: Fantascience Friction.)

(Return to For All Nails.)